Our global advocacy on sex workers aims to improve the meaningful participation of sex workers in HIV policies and programmes, influence legal and policy reform, and deliver greater investment to make universal access to HIV services a reality. It will achieve these aims by working with the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) to support evidence-informed advocacy.
Criminalisation, stigma and human rights violations
HIV disproportionately affects sex workers. However, HIV policies and programmes often fail to address the complex barriers that make it harder for sex workers to access health and support services. Male and transgender sex workers are also often ignored. Criminalisation is a key reason why sex workers avoid health and social care services that are vital for their health and for reducing the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. More than 100 countries criminalise some aspects of sex work. Sex workers also frequently face stigma, discrimination and human rights violations within services. In a significant number of countries the police continue to use condoms as evidence of sex work despite condoms being distributed by the department of health. This undermines HIV prevention efforts with sex workers.
We are working with NSWP to support the following areas:
- Targeted advocacy;
- Communications, including translation and distribution of information, policy analysis, research and guidance to NSWP members and beyond;
- Building capacity and solidarity among sex worker networks and providing support on issues such as human rights, health programming, law, ethics, and technology;
- Developing sex worker leadership through mentoring and support;
- Establishing and maintaining good governance, accountability and management practices.
NSWP will also work with other global partners to make sure the needs of sex workers are fully addressed in global and national responses. Expertise and learning will be shared across the network to strengthen its project work and advocacy.